JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the reopening of the Kerem Shalom Crossing to full capacity Wednesday morning, following three days of relative quiet.
Normally, truckloads of goods enter the Gaza Strip every day. Lieberman also extended the fishing zone off Gaza's coast back to nine nautical miles.
Kerem Shalom Crossing, Photo, IDF Spokesman's Office
Israeli navy patrols keep a close eye on the area, in the past preventing terror attacks and infiltrations. The navy also prevents flotillas from breaking Israel's naval blockade of Gaza (supported under international law) and has turned back passenger boats attempting to set sail from Gaza, also breaching the blockade.
Israeli Navy Prevents Flotilla from Breaching the Naval Blockade, Photo, GPO
Lieberman told Gaza residents the State of Israel is the solution, not the problem. He said maintaining quiet is in their best interests. He posted a message in Arabic on the COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) Facebook page.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Photo, GPO
"I differentiate between the Hamas leadership and the regular Gaza residents," YNet news translated the post.
"That is why I've decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom Crossing and expand the fishing zone back to nine miles as a clear message to the residents of the Strip. 'Calm pays off and violence does not.' The Gaza residents have something to gain when Israeli citizens enjoy quiet and security, and something to lose when this quiet is broken," Lieberman wrote.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the decision rewards terrorism. Hamas will use the quiet as it has in the past to rebuild its terror infrastructure.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Photo, CBN News
MK Michael Oren, who serves as deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office, agreed.
MK Michael Oren, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
"I can't tell you much about the possibility of a ceasefire, but one thing I can tell you with 100 percent certainty is that if a ceasefire is achieved, Hamas will violate it because that's the nature of Hamas," Oren told CBN News. "Hamas is a jihadist terrorist organization that is sworn to kill us, so it is in its DNA to break that ceasefire."
Hamas jihadist, Photo, CBN News archives
Lieberman closed the crossing in early May after Hamas protesters set fire to the side facing Gaza, in part to repair the damage. Two weeks ago, he banned fuel and gas shipments because of the daily launch of incendiary devices to set fires in Israel. Some 7,500 acres of wheat fields, nature reserves and forests have been destroyed since the demonstrations began on March 30.
US Firefighters Help Extinguish Fires in Southern Israel, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Hamas has turned away truckloads of goods for Gaza residents, including medical provisions, in the past. Besides that, Israeli inspectors have confiscated all kinds of weaponry, explosives materials and similar products designated for the Hamas military infrastructure.